Morning Music: Woody Guthrie

Struggle - Woody GuthrieI can’t decide if I should do a straight series of worker songs. But when in doubt, I always go with a set schedule. So I thought today we would listen to Woody Guthrie doing “Union Burying Ground.” It is a commemoration of all the union workers and organizers who were killed in the struggle. It is filled with a religious conviction. It celebrates martyrdom. For example, it says, “Every new grave brings a thousand members…” And also, “I’m a gonna sleep in a union coffin…” These are committed statements.

As I noted before, I don’t have much ability when it comes to faith. This is why I make a terrible activist. You can’t work for change unless you think it is a real possibility. Cynicism gets you nowhere. At the same time, our own cynicism is the capitalists’ greatest tool. The last refuge of a conservative is, “They’re all the same! It’s all corrupt!” John Stuart Mill said, “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.” He wasn’t talking about the capitalist class, but he should have been.

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